City owned, YMCA organized Flanagan Community Center

Rockland extends recreation center lease two years

Posted:  Monday, June 11, 2018 - 9:15pm
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ROCKLAND – Despite public criticism of Rockland’s continued ownership and maintenance of a building used by a national organization, Rockland City Councilors voted to hold the Flanagan Community Center lease for another two years.

On June 11, at a regularly scheduled meeting, councilors voted unanimously to continue their contract with the Penobscot Bay YMCA. Three years ago, the Y was the only organization willing to take stewardship of the faltering program.

Before the vote, Mayor Valli Geiger recollected the City’s dilemma three years prior.

“I felt that it was a lawsuit waiting to happen for the City,” she said. “I found it [the situation] to be very disturbing.”

The City was paying more than $300,000 per year, despite poor supervision of middle school students and a rec center that suffered graffiti, vandalism, and unacceptable behavior.

According to Geiger, the City is now paying $197,500, two-thirds to one-half of the previous cost, while security and programming have improved. And, no Rockland child is turned away.

Though councilors voted unanimously, Councilor Ed Glaser saw a possible future link between the Rec Center and another agenda item which was postponed until July 9.

Glaser suggested that the creation of a Parks and Recreation department would provide more recreation-minded individuals from whom to draw advice.

“It gives us an opportunity to have a group of citizens looking at that contract, that it’s not just up to council at that point,” he said.

Geiger said she also would like to see a Parks and Recreation department. However, to do so requires increases in municipal revenue sharing, school funding, and a possible increase in area businesses.

“Everyone mourned the loss of the spirit of it [the former Rec Center] and what it used to be, but certainly not what it was by the time we closed it down,” she said.

 Related stories:

Answers still sought for Rockland Recreation Center funding a week before preliminary budget adoption

YMCA to take over Rockland Recreation Center Oct. 1; former asst. director to lead

Rockland Harbor YMCA outlines vision for running city’s recreation center

Second Rockland Recreation Center/YMCA forum proposed as councilors consider lease of building

Passionate crowd gives testimonial to value of Rockland library, recreation center

 

Reach Sarah Thompson at news@penbaypilot.com